Pensions and Flexible Retirement Actions

Overview and Resources
October 2023

Find out more about pensions and flexible retirement options and how they can benefit your organisations, teams and individuals.

Why does it matter?

Flexible retirement can help staff by offering them the opportunity to stay working in their late career, whilst also receiving their pension and continuing to pay into it, rather than retiring completely. It also allows flexibility around the age at which staff retire, the length of time they retire for and the work they undertake leading up to full retirement.

These Ways to Stay keep skilled and experienced staff in the organisation for longer and slow the loss of organisational knowledge and professional experience.

Promoting and celebrating the benefits of the NHS Pension Scheme helps staff understand their total reward package and statement. This in turn helps staff stay working in the NHS at all career stages and retain their pension benefits.


How will this benefit my…

  • Organisations can use flexible retirement options to encourage staff to consider different roles or duties as an alternative to retirement, for example, part time working, legacy mentoring or moving teams or areas.
  • Retaining experienced team members who would otherwise retire, supports teams to remain stable and allows those in late career to continue to use and pass on their skills and knowledge.
  • Individuals in a late-stage career can (with the agreement of their employer) choose to receive their pension whilst working in their current role – offering a significant financial incentive for people to continue to work post-retirement.
  • The process no longer requires a gap in service or resignation and is more straightforward for individuals to understand.
  • Reducing pensionable pay by 10% for the first 12 months can be achieved in many different ways using flexible retirement to support retention | NHS Employers.
  • As members can rejoin the scheme, they will continue to benefit from the valuable protection for families and dependents offered, including life insurance.
  • In tandem with other flexible working options (reducing hours, fixed working patterns, alternative duties etc), flexible retirement options can support an individual to remain healthy and well at work.
  • Flexible retirement can support the delivery of excellent care by retaining valuable skills and knowledge in the organisation.
  • Offering flexible retirement supports improvements in staff experience and staff engagement, which impact on patient experience.

Top Tips for Implementing

You don’t need to worry about completing all of the tips. Pick a few that feel achievable to you as a starting point.
You can then revisit them later.

  • Review your organisation or team’s data; staff demographic information, leaver and exit interview information, staff turnover, staff engagement scores. Understand what the data tells you about who is leaving your organisation or team and why they are leaving. This will help you consider how flexible retirement might encourage staff to stay working in your organisation or team.
  • You might need to speak to your organisation about how to access data; this might be a Data Analyst or your HR department.
  • Accessing Model Health System will provide you with useful data. You can register for an account if you don’t already have one.
  • The Understanding your Data section in the NHS Employers Improving Staff Retention – A guide for line managers and employers is also useful starting point.
  • Use NHS Employers Retirement Flexibilities and Flexible Retirement Personas Posters to support pension and flexible retirement conversations with your team.
  • Share information with your team on how staff can get the best from their pension
  • Share the benefits of the NHS Pension with your team using Pension Positives to help.
  • Encourage staff to attend pension seminars – give time during the working day, where possible.
  • Share ‘good news stories’ in communications about staff who have kept working post-retirement age.
  • Try the Team activities in the Ways to Stay guidebook.

DISCLAIMER – Please note you should not under any circumstances provide financial advice to staff.  Your role is to ensure they receive factual information and signposting.  If in doubt, you can ask staff to call NHS Pensions on 0300 330 1346 or to discuss their personal circumstances.  Paying into the NHS Pension Scheme is one way to save for retirement and there are other ways to save for the future.

How will I measure the impact?

  • Establish a data baseline (e.g., age demographics, current leaver rates, absence rates, staff engagement scores) and then track and monitor over time.
  • Track the numbers of staff attending pension seminars.
  • Monitor flexible working and retirement requests and the age demographics of those submitting them.
  • Identify any recruitment targeted towards those in late career (e.g. legacy mentor programmes) and monitor numbers of  staff in those roles.
  • Invite staff in late career to share their career journeys and use them in local comms to highlight the benefits of working longer to the workforce.

Case Studies

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Liv Evans, Improvement Facilitator at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, tells us about what her team did to address the pensions and flexible retirement high impact action.

Watch the video here >
Pensions - case study photo

Late Career Hub

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System collation of resources and late careers information for health and social care organisations across Nottinghamshire.

Visit the website – CARE4Notts >
Grey Pension
Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust
Read more >